• 75°

Conservation Reserve Program sign-up ends Feb. 12

Agricultural producers and private landowners interested in the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program have two more weeks to sign up for the annual program.

The competitive program is administered by the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, and provides annual rental payments for land devoted to conservation purposes.

Through CRP, farmers and ranchers establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species — such as approved grasses or trees — to control soil erosion, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat on cropland. These improvements provide numerous benefits to the environment and economy.

General signup includes increased opportunities for wildlife habitat enrollment through the State Acres For Wildlife Enhancement initiative, or SAFE.

New cropland submitted for the program must have been planted at least four of six crop years from 2012 to 2017. Producers in CRP whose enrollment expires Sept. 30 can also re-enroll. All applications are evaluated competitively. Accepted offers will begin Oct. 1.

CRP was signed into law in 1985 and has been successful:

  • Preventing more than 9 billion tons of soil from eroding — enough to fill 600 million dump trucks.
  • Reducing nitrogen and phosphorous runoff relative to annually tilled cropland by 95% and 85%, respectively.
  • Sequestering an average of 49 million tons of greenhouse gases annually — equal to taking 9 million cars off the roads.
  • Creating more than 3 million acres of restored wetlands while protecting more than 175,000 stream miles with riparian forest and grass buffers — enough to go around the earth seven times.
  • Benefiting bees and other pollinators and increasing populations of ducks, pheasants, turkeys, bobwhite quail, prairie chickens, grasshopper sparrows and many other birds.

For more information on CRP and other programs, visit the USDA office on Johnny Johnson Drive or call 601-833-5621 or visit www.fsa.usda.gov.